Tag Archives: The Oval

Secret Agreement with Fossil Fuel Corporation to Extend Sponsorship

FHC has written to request that HRM Mayor and Council not approve a secret agreement with the fossil fuel corporation Emera to extend the sponsorship and naming rights of the Halifax Common’s Oval.  Below is the September 12, 2022 letter:

Skaters on the Halifax Common People’s Oval (photo: HRM)

Dear Mayor and Council, 

Friends of Halifax Common write to ask that you do not approve the secret agreement with the fossil fuel company Emera to extend the sponsorship of the Halifax Common’s Oval. 

There are several questions we propose you consider. 

The Halifax Common Master Plan is still undergoing public consultation. The matter of branding, advertising or sponsorship are subjects that should be vetted as part of this consultation. Should HRM Council be making this decision in secrecy and at this time?

No to Alcohol or Cigarette Advertizing but Fossil Fuel Branding OK? Naming rights is a form of advertisement. On public property it is a form of privatization, where companies gain access to the public viewer for private gain so as to buy positive affirmation or customers. What is viewed as appropriate or permissible advertising changes over time in response to societal values or even scientific evidence. Would HRM condone or permit alcohol, cigarette or pesticide advertising?

Today the ramifications of supporting and promoting fossil fuel companies on our collective future is much more in our collective thinking and decision making. Emera is the parent company of Nova Scotia Power Inc. one of the provinces leading polluters and greenhouse gas emitters. It is essentially a fossil fuel business that is negatively impacting human health and the climate crisis. France, Amsterdam, Sydney are jurisdictions that plan to no longer condone public advertising for fossil fuel companies. They are taking steps to regulate this. 

In June 2022, 34 Canadian health organizations representing 700,000 health workers across the country asked the government of Canada for a comprehensive ban on fossil fuel advertising – including ads for gasoline, fossil fuel utilities, and gas-powered vehicles https://www.newswire.ca/news-releases/canadian-doctors-call-for-tobacco-style-ban-on-fossil-fuel-advertising-in-canada-867532772.html  Does extending a secret contract to Emera to greenwash a corporation at this time positively reflect the values that HRM purports in its commitment to be a climate change leader?

Public Concern Over Secrecy To be clear despite misinformation by some, Friends of Halifax Common has never been against the Oval https://halifaxcommon.ca/tag/the-oval/  and FHC did not engage in the 2011 public discussion about the first agreement with Emera and Molson. But as this is some time ago, are you aware of the public concern that the decision was made with a “secrecy that came to be seen as emblematic of a growing lack of transparency at city hall?”  https://www.theglobeandmail.com/news/politics/halifax-mayor-on-thin-ice-in-outdoor-rink-controversy/article4197223/

Or did you know that in 2013, Solidarity Halifax a volunteer citizens group, led a popular contest to un-brand and re-name the Oval because of how unsuitable both the process and choice were? https://solidaritykh.org/2013/02/renaming-our-oval-whats-in-a-name/

The Oval was built with public money, on public land and a comparatively small amount of corporate money. Can you consider honouring the sentiment of the 1763 land grant and keep the name as the Halifax Common Oval and the Oval as a short form?

Unless extending a secret agreement with a fossil fuel company to brand a publicly funded recreational facility on the Halifax Common is the legacy you as HRM Mayor and Council want to leave, we hope you can re-consider the process and the outcome.

Yours truly, 

FHC Directors

 

Todd Veniotte & FCH: What’s Wrong with the HRM-Emera Secret Deal?

"EMERA" Oval

LOTS! HRM Mayor & Council ignored all FHC’s good reasons why making secret deals with any fossil fuel corp is bad news. So now Emera, NSPI’s parent—gets naming rights (along with some very cheap green washing) to the Halifax Common’s Oval. Can someone remind those HRM decision makers we’re in a climate crisis? And that decision-making for the Halifax Common shouldn’t be secret deals?

Here’s the FHC letter…

September 12, 2022

Dear Mayor and Council, 

Friends of Halifax Common write to ask that you do not approve the secret agreement with the fossil fuel company Emera to extend the sponsorship of the Halifax Common’s Oval. 

There are several questions we propose you consider. 

The Halifax Common Master Plan is still undergoing public consultation.
The matter of branding, advertising or sponsorship are subjects that should be vetted as part of this consultation. Should HRM Council be making this decision in secrecy and at this time?

No to Alcohol or Cigarette Advertising but Fossil Fuel Branding OK?
Naming rights is a form of advertisement. On public property it is a form of privatization, where companies gain access to the public viewer for private gain so as to buy positive affirmation or customers. What is viewed as appropriate or permissible advertising changes over time in response to societal values or even scientific evidence. Would HRM condone or permit alcohol, cigarette or pesticide advertising?

Today the ramifications of supporting and promoting fossil fuel companies on our collective future is much more in our collective thinking and decision making. Emera is the parent company of Nova Scotia Power Inc. one of the provinces leading polluters and greenhouse gas emitters. It is essentially a fossil fuel business that is negatively impacting human health and the climate crisis. France, Amsterdam, Sydney are jurisdictions that plan to no longer condone public advertising for fossil fuel companies. They are taking steps to regulate this. 

In June 2022, 34 Canadian health organizations representing 700,000 health workers across the country asked the government of Canada for a comprehensive ban on fossil fuel advertising – including ads for gasoline, fossil fuel utilities, and gas-powered vehicles https://www.newswire.ca/news-releases/canadian-doctors-call-for-tobacco-style-ban-on-fossil-fuel-advertising-in-canada-867532772.html  Does extending a secret contract to Emera to greenwash a corporation at this time positively reflect the values that HRM purports in its commitment to be a climate change leader?

Public Concern Over Secrecy
To be clear despite misinformation by some, Friends of Halifax Common has never been against the Oval (https://halifaxcommon.ca/tag/the-oval/)  and FHC did not engage in the 2011 public discussion about the first agreement with Emera and Molson. But as this is some time ago, are you aware of the public concern that the decision was made with a “secrecy that came to be seen as emblematic of a growing lack of transparency at city hall?”  (https://www.theglobeandmail.com/news/politics/halifax-mayor-on-thin-ice-in-outdoor-rink-controversy/article4197223/)

Or did you know that in 2013, Solidarity Halifax a volunteer citizens group, led a popular contest to un-brand and re-name the Oval because of how unsuitable both the process and choice were? (https://solidaritykh.org/2013/02/renaming-our-oval-whats-in-a-name/)

The Oval was built with public money, on public land and a comparatively small amount of corporate money. Can you consider honouring the sentiment of the 1763 land grant and keep the name as the Halifax Common Oval and the Oval as a short form?

Unless extending a secret agreement with a fossil fuel company to brand a publicly funded recreational facility on the Halifax Common is the legacy you as HRM Mayor and Council want to leave, we hope you can re-consider the process and the outcome.

Yours truly, 

FHC Directors

FHC – Being For Good Public Process — Not Against Oval

June 19, 2018

Dear Mayor and Council Re- The Oval

I believe it is always best to have public perception reflect reality. At last evening’s public hearing there were a couple of references by council that members of the audience had been against the Oval but were now presenting that they were concerned about the effect of the proposed 25-storey building’s shadow on it. It is unfortunate that Friends of Halifax Common were not granted their request in 2011 to speak before Council about their ideas for the Oval and some Councillors may have the wrong impression of the position FHC has with respect to the Oval.

To clarify any confusion about the position of Friends of Halifax Common on the Oval please find attached the FHC press release from April 2011. It reflects the position of the FHC then and now. You will read that we included comments by Derek Hawes a refrigeration expert who had been working throughout the province to help arenas/rinks reduce GHG emissions and improve energy efficiency. His information about 140 homes being able to be heated from waste heat is what led the FHC to support the Oval be located at the Central Common. Waste heat from the Oval would have been sufficient to heat all of the institutional buildings (hospitals, school, museum, pavilion, CBC TV) in the area. These were details FHC brought forward when we voluntarily went to a number of community council meetings (because we were unable to speak to Council of the Whole) to suggest a better process would result in a better outcome.

It was the architectural firm DRSA that had a volunteer team of architects come forward in support of the Wanderers Grounds as a location for the Oval. They were brave to do so at that time because in Halifax alternative positions often get framed as being anti. Ironically they were later awarded the RFP for the new building on the North Common although they considered this to be an inferior location. FHC may have mentioned this as a solution, but it was generally referenced as being this firm’s idea.

Friends of Halifax Common

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www.halifaxcommon.ca

FHC did oppose the construction of a new building on the North Common. Our position was always that the existing Pavilion building next to the skatepark be re-built or repurposed and used for a general recreational facility. This is where the majority of hard-surfaced infrastructure already is. We also proposed that if there was a broader consultation other ideas would come forward. For example Winnipeg has a yearly architectural competition for the design of temporary warming huts that create a special creative but functional solution. In response to the RFP from HRM FHC critiqued the building plan for its lack of public space-it primarily serves the needs of support staff and equipment and zamboni storage.

These details may be too nuanced for the press or Save the Oval members to have paid attention to however I believe it is worth while trying to represent the facts rather than the rumours in any discussion. Perhaps what this speaks most strongly to is the failure of good process and transparency in decisions with respect to the Halifax Common which often results in short-term solutions, polarized perceptions and rumour- mongering.

Open discussion with citizens can be the opportunity for good ideas. For instance had the Oval been located on the Central Common the waste heat could now be used for a year-round heated outdoor pool at the proposed new aquatic centre.

And the Common Roots Urban Farm is the outcome of an idea and the work of FHC. FHC had several meetings with some visionary folks at Capital Health to encourage them to use the former QEHS site as a garden. After we convinced them to proceed it was our group that introduced Jayme Melrose to them and the rest is history.

As with last evening’s presentation FHC’s ask has always been that the City honour its 1994 commitment to develop a master plan for the 235 acre Halifax Common in conjunction with overall planning of the city such that there is best outcome for the common good. Adding an unsolicited 25-storey building that shadows the Oval does not meet that criteria.

Thank you,

Peggy Cameron
Co-chair, Friends of Halifax Common

Friends of Halifax Common

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PRESS RELEASE- FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

April 27, 2011

(Halifax) In its rush to Save the Oval, the HRM staff report on the Canada Games Oval recommending a single centralized skating facility on the North Halifax Common has miscalculated the price tag and budget implications.

“One cost missing is NSPI’s forecasted 20% electricity rate increase by 2015,” says Alan Ruffman, Executive member of Friends of Halifax Common.

“Another is the increased cost of energy consumption and maintenance of such a large outdoor ice surface when Environment Canada is telling us that, thanks to climate change, we’ve just come through the warmest winter on record- the 14th in a row, and one with many extreme weather events that bring high winds, high rain and snowfalls and lots of power outages,” concludes Ruffman.

Derek Hawes, project manager for the Ice Rink Energy Programme that is operated through the Recreation Facility Association of Nova Scotia, raised several concerns with HRM about the oval.

“This one facility has a similar refrigeration capacity as eight indoor community arenas, and in another location such as the Central Common or Beasley Field, the waste heat could be used to heat approximately 140 homes or the equivalent number of public buildings such as hospitals or a school,” said Mr Hawes.

“I suggested a number of other skating options, including skating paths in Victoria Park, on the Grand Parade or other community destinations where the waste heat could be used, but for the staff, the oval on the Common was a done deal,” Mr. Hawes continued.

Hawes is also concerned about the quality of the refrigeration units the city purchased: “I have reason to believe the long-term operating and maintenance costs will be significantly higher than staff projected.”

“Unfortunately, Council was misled and based their decision on misinformation provided in the staff report- If the oval goes ahead, it would be the most expensive and environmentally unfriendly rink ever built in the province.” concluded Mr. Hawes.

Friends of Halifax Common presented at several HRM Community Councils meetings to urge more time be taken so the best decision is made. Members suggest that the oval could be a focus for the redesign of the Central Common or, as proposed in the original plan for the Canada Winter Games Skating oval, to have a network of community neighbourhood skating venues throughout HRM instead of forcing everyone to drive to one destination.

The North Common is less than one-third of the original public open space on the Halifax Common.

“The skating oval is another example of where the HRM staff are rushing into a poor planning decision for the Halifax Common instead of respecting a long-term master-plan,” said Beverly Miller, FHC Co-chair. “Public open space on the Halifax Common will be lost, or continue to be covered with concrete or remain under threat of commercialization as long as there is no proper public process,” concluded Miller.

Theestimateformakingtheovalpermanentisapproximately$6milliondollars. Althoughsponsorshavecome forward, all HRM taxpayers will be contributing $8 per $100,000 property value. No estimates have been provided for multiple outdoor skating rinks throughout HRM.

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For information on the Friends of Halifax Common: http://halifaxcommon.ca/index.html

Friends of Halifax Common

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HRM Tender for The Pavilion at The Oval

Survey Preverence for Pavilion Architecture Design 38%- Traditional 25% Modern & Contemporary 18% Fun & Vibrant 12%Contextual and Low Key

Survey Preference for Pavilion Architecture Design
38% Traditional
25% Modern & Contemporary
18% Fun & Vibrant
12% Contextual and Low Key

The Halifax Examiner reports: after much delay, the city is offering the tender for construction of the pavilion at The Oval. Back in 2012, the city issued a request for proposals for design of both the plaza and the accompanying building, but with the sense that things were going too fast for design of a building, that tender was cancelled*. Since then, the plaza has been built and named after a beer company that paid pennies on the dollars of the construction price, and the city went into super consultation-with-citizens mode for design of the building. Here are some pretty pictures of what is said to be the final Continue reading

Effective Lighting & Public Safety on the Common

Letter To The Coast Magazine by Peggy Cameron, Coordinator, Friends of the Halifax Common

Lumieres law-the further the light is from the source the lower the intensity.  Multiple stadium lights without cut-offs installed on too-tall poles at The Oval are a glaring example of ineffective and inefficient lighting design.

Lumieres law-the further the light is from the source the lower the intensity. Multiple stadium lights without cut-offs installed on too-tall poles at The Oval are a glaring example of ineffective and inefficient lighting design.

Glare And Present Danger – Letter to the Editor, January 15, 2015.  Although we can feel vulnerable walking alone at night, there no evidence that bright lights reduce crime. (Streetlight scarcity casts risky shadows,” feature by Ameya Charnalie and Sergio Gonzalez, How to fix the city issue January 8).
That’s not to say Halifax doesn’t have lots of problems with  lighting. There is a public safety issue when people need to be able to Continue reading

Chronicle Herald Op-Ed – Running Circles Around Common Plan

Celebrate the Common 250 2014Published June 27th, 2014
This week marked the 251st anniversary of the signing of the 1763 land grant of 240 acres “for the use of the inhabitants of the Town of Halifax as Common forever.”

This year also marks 20 years since the City of Halifax approved the 1994 Halifax Common Plan, a document that was developed after a thorough public consultation because of concern about the increasing number of changes and demands for use and the need for additional protection for the Halifax Common. Continue reading